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Should celebrities be held responsible for endorsements?

Last year, a government testing laboratory found 'excess' lead in Maggi - one of the most popular brands of instant noodles. The brand ambassadors of the product, actors Amitabh Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit and Preity Zinta were not only flayed on social media but a case was filed against them in a local court in Uttar Pradesh. The case rested on the logic that celebrities should be held accountable for any product they endorse, since the celebrities, have a mass following and have the ability to sway people. The discourse on making celebrities accountable for misleading adverts was given a shot in the arm when the Parliamentary Standing Committee made recommendations on making celebrities accountable. Based on which, the government has prepared a draft Bill proposing criminal liabilities on celebrities featuring in misleading advertisements. It says that court can take 'cognisance' of a false or misleading endorsement if the complaint is being filed by an officer of the Central Consumer Protection Authority. Though the draft bill makes it clear that consumers won't be able to drag a celebrity to court yet the endorsers are up in arms as they say that it is impossible to validate the claims made by the manufacturers since only an expert is qualified to exercise such due diligence. Can celebrities be expected to self-regulate or should the power lie in the hands of the consumer?




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